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Can flushable wipes cause sewer pipe clogs

A number of major brands have released “flushable wipe” products that claim to provide homeowners with an easier way to clean up after using the restroom. The idea is that these products offer a cleaner alternative to toilet paper, and that they can be disposed of in the convenient manner homeowners have become most accustomed to — by flushing them down the toilet after use, just like toilet paper. And this claim is technically true. Flushable wipes can be flushed down the toilet, in the same way that one could technically flush many other various items down a toilet. But just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do, or that it’s something that should be done. Because what is rarely advertised along with the claims that these wipes can be easily flushed after use is what happens after the wipes are flushed — and the impact they will have on the pipes. 

How do Flushable Wipes Cause Pipe Clogs?

The main issue with flushing so-called flushable wipes down the toilet is that they do not break down in the same way that toilet paper breaks down. Once toilet paper becomes saturated with liquid, it breaks down quickly and into very small pieces — which is ideal for flushing, as this makes it easier for the toilet paper to mix with other elements of sewage water, and move through the sewer system without issues.

Flushable wipes, however, break down more slowly. It’s important to note that the wet wipes do eventually break down, but because of how long it takes, it’s easy for these wipes to get caught in pipes and sewer lines once they have been flushed. These fibrous wipes then clump together with other wipes and other debris that finds a way in the sewer system. And this is how clogs form. The mass grows large enough that it creates a solid blockage within the pipe until no more water can move through the space, resulting in an emergency plumbing call and a very expensive extraction process.

What Happens Once a Clog Has Formed?

Whether you’re a regular user of wet flushable wipes or not, there is still a chance you’re dealing with a clogged pipe. If you’ve noticed a drop in the water pressure around your home, have noticed your toilets or drains backing up, or noticed a distinct sewage odor around the bathrooms and water fixtures around the house, a clog is the likely culprit.

The first step homeowners should take is actually one of restraint — don’t immediately run to get a liquid drain cleaner. These can end up compounding the issue, and creating more damage to the pipes where the clog has formed. The acidic materials in most over the counter drain cleaners quickly eats away at the lining within the pipes, and can cause a pipe rupture that will leave homeowners worse off than when they began.

Instead, if you suspect there is a clog in or around your homes plumbing, or in the home’s sewer line, reach out to a plumbing professional immediately to diagnose and work on the issue. If you’re looking for a plumbing professional to handle such a call, consider reaching out to the plumbing experts at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling. With over 30+ years of professional plumbing experience, the experts at Duane Blanton will be able to provide answers and solutions to clear up your home plumbing issues and keep the water flowing as needed. Reach out to Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling today at (815) 781-2567, or schedule right from your browser using their convenient online scheduling portal!


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